On May 2, 2018 the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada celebrated our trade by showcasing and honouring the ground-breaking work of our peers in the industry at the Sponsorship Marketing Awards. One of our biggest highlights? Our Founder and Managing Partner, Andrea J. Shaw, was inducted into the Sponsorship Marketing Hall of Fame. The Council asked her to speak about the future of our industry in her address to the audience. Here is Andrea’s take on where we are headed, and as importantly, what we need to stay focused on.

Andrea J. Shaw, Founder And Managing Partner

Being inducted into the Sponsorship Marketing Hall of Fame is an incredibly humbling honour. There are many greats whom have walked before me, and many people I have had the privilege of collaborating with along the way; so I feel it is tough to take sole credit for the accolade. I am deeply grateful to the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada and its members for this incredible recognition, especially in a time where finally, the industry is finding its rightful place in sponsorship marketing investment. As I reflect upon my career, I am most grateful for the relationships that have been forged, and the shared passion we have, for elevating the sophistication of our industry.

From my early days with CIBC, my own boutique sponsorship firms, all the way into the learning laboratory of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, and today working with some of Canada’s most loved brands and properties; the transformation of the industry is truly astounding. We build the opportunity to connect with consumers, engage them in a meaningful way, and transform that relationship into brand love. We have uncovered what matters most to consumers — a human connection.

Put simply, marketing is about storytelling, but we take it to the next level by introducing the human connection. We put the consumer first, elevating their experience in a way that makes their moment enhanced rather than disrupted. People remember when they were respected and treated well, and what better way to solidify your brand as one that deserves their attention than by letting consumers know they are cherished and have a voice.

The world at large is changing at a rapid pace. Crypto-currencies, consolidation of properties, virtual reality, and the future model of major Games, all push us all into being more imaginative with client spend. But by staying true to our values, we can navigate this new era and maintain relevance while still honouring what is at our core: people and passion.

At TTG Canada, we continue to dig deeper as marketing anthropologists by always visualizing ourselves in the minds and hearts of the consumer when building solutions for our clients. Only when you understand what generates loyalty for your audience, can you begin to weave an authentic story that resonates with them, creatively harnesses a property’s commercial rights, and inspires people’s loyalty for your brand.

Yes, use the data, do your analysis, and make your business case to support engaging your customers through associative partnerships. However it is vitally important to remember, every day, that sponsorship is about humanizing business.

It is the things we love that impress upon us and engage us. So it is incumbent upon us all to inject authentic magic and enthusiasm back into our content and back into the industry – where we think like real people. A world where we have the courage to override the glowing screen in front of us, and can confidently use our judgment.